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Akira: Special Edition

Akira: Special Edition

3.8 21
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo

Cast: Mitsuo Iwara, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama


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One of the best sustained examples of "Japanimation" (or "Anime," as fans of the genre called it), Akira is based on the manga (comic book) by Katsuhiro Otomo. The story is set in the post-apocalyptic community of Neo-Tokyo. Akira is a fiercely individualistic member of a scrungy motorcycle gang. The despotic authorities, the robotlike


One of the best sustained examples of "Japanimation" (or "Anime," as fans of the genre called it), Akira is based on the manga (comic book) by Katsuhiro Otomo. The story is set in the post-apocalyptic community of Neo-Tokyo. Akira is a fiercely individualistic member of a scrungy motorcycle gang. The despotic authorities, the robotlike police, and even the cycle gang pursue Akira when he's bombarded with a new, insidious energy source that has rendered him telekinetic. Budgeted at $8 million (an enormous amount for a Japanese film of any kind), Akira has become a cult favorite thanks to generous midnight-movie exposure and multiple showing on cable TV's Cartoon Network.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Patrick Macias
When Katsuhiro Otomo's landmark sci-fi anime feature Akira arrived in U.S. theaters in 1988, fans and newbies alike came, saw, and often walked away with mixed emotions. Which is why Pioneer's wonderful 2001 reissue of the film, which brought clarity to various cloudy narrative issues, is such a welcome addition to the library. Upon that initial release, there was no missing that Akira was an animated work of unrivaled power; its Neo-Tokyo cityscape a media-rich, neon-lit labyrinth of plastic, glass, and concrete. Set 31 years after World War III, it was a dystopia where pill-popping tribes zipped around town on tricked-out motorbikes -- a vision destined to be regarded as the stylistic ground zero for sci-fi films yet to come. (You can bet your Matrix action figures that the Wachowski brothers are fans.) Yet, Akira's story seemed vague and unfocused when compared to the version that was familiar from Otomo's original graphic novel. The English-speaking audience could only presume that the narrative holes were a result of style over substance, and had to be content with the fact that the style was breathtaking enough to forgive substantive shortcomings. The 2001 re-release of Akira restores focus and clarity in more ways than one. The new, high-definition transfer, produced by using the original negative, captures Neo-Tokyo's postapocalyptic luster. And the new English translation and dub, far more faithful to Otomo's original text, reveals Akira's symbolic genesis in Japan's political zeitgeist. It is an epic conflict between youth and age, chaos and control, personified by two childhood friends, Tetsuo and Kaneda.
All Movie Guide
Anime has had a devoted following since its beginnings, but it didn't have much crossover appeal in the U.S. until Akira came along. The drawing style was always respected for its distinctive characteristics -- the large soulful eyes, the expressive color, the jagged representation of fantasy worlds. But it fell short of true sophistication, since many of the drawings had the herky-jerky quality that comes from animating fewer backgrounds or character movements than necessary for a seamless flow, usually for reasons of speed or poverty. Akira represented a fully realized anime film, both smooth in its appearance and coherent in its narrative, and the result was to awaken the affections of fans outside the anime kingdom. It's a thoroughly unsubtle film, with big explosions, mystical platitudes, and hysterical emotions, but it is also visually glorious in a way that far outdistanced its predecessors. Akira is never going to win converts beyond a certain age -- the overblown, angst-ridden plot, which stretches on for over two hours, is best lapped up by wide-eyed teenagers. But this brash, brave effort to bring anime to the outside world is remarkable in how well it achieved that goal, and how greatly it exceeded the modest expectations of its brethren.
Washington Post - Richard Harrington
The detail is exceptionally realistic, fluid and multidimensional, suggesting both a futuristic world and ancient quests.... Of course, Akira is not a long cartoon, but an ambitious animated feature that can be seen as a parable of scientific responsibility and cosmic rebirth, or just an action-packed serial. Or it can be seen as a visceral example of the future of animation.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
[Wide Screen]
[stereo, Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Teaser #1; Teaser #2; Tv commercial; Trailer #1; Trailer #2; Storyboards; Original pressing includes 32-page color booklet and special slipcase (time only)

Cast & Crew


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Akira: Special Edition 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think Akira is the greatest anime in history and always will be. Akira introduced me to anime and made me think about everything. But I hate this version because Pioneer butchered Akira by changing the dub. In the original, Kaneda sounded cool and tough because he was voiced by Jimmy Flinders (he voiced Leonardo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). In this one, Kaneda sounds like a sissy because he was voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch (he voiced Vash from Trigun, which stinks). The dialog sounds lifeless, idiotic, and modern. Those groupies from Kaneda's bike gang fit all three descriptions because of the revised dub. In the original, they sounded more realistic and authentic. Boycott all the Akira DVDs from Pioneer and buy the Akira 'ultimate collection' DVD from Manga. Heed my advice, you'll thank me some day!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have known of this title for a long time but just got it. What I found was the most outstanding way to put violence into a cartoon. The story line is the best I'v seen in a movie and is going strong. I am addicted and I'm currently collecting the manga, realising that a lot is not in the movie, and it still puts me in a daydream.
The_Beastlord_Slavedragon More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most memorable and noteworthy of the Japanese Anime Genere save for the original Speed Racer series itself; and true to it's roots, we have Tetsuo on his lowly yet roadworthy rice rocket followed by his wayward cousin Kaneda on well,... The Mammoth Bike... The Suzuki GSXR Ultimaximus. The Slavedragon remembers these Seasons during the Abyss rather with a fond bittersweet betearing of loves lost and fine days during the sun under the realms of Odin. We have two young magnet school droputs, who, true to form, have each stolen his own bike. "No you can't have mine, steal your own". Words of Odin one should heed. Now our friends get deep into the hidden weaponry of the state gone rogue by some rather sickly deformed abominations of the spirit in personal development who have colluded with bad science to create some rather frightening Monsters. How the god Akira found out about it is beyond my understanding but he is made carnate in flesh, (well, sort of) and then a crowd of religious fanatics gather togther to exalt Tetsuo, (with whom Akira is in communication with), over the screaming fanticss of the greatest city wide riot and mosh pit anyone one could ever imagine. The film is great fun and could never be made by actors. This film shows the superiority in certain drama of the Animated form. In addition to that, we deal in the best rendition of the usability of the Bimota Tesi and The Frog 750 from Milan 1984, set in a believeable science of usability on the street. Quorthon of Bathory call this film, "Odin's Ride o'er Nordlundt" Sssshhhh. keep it down! Others call it the Battle of Lost Tokyo. "who he?" This film is real. Parents will never even think to look twice at it. The Slavedragon hath bespaken.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Akira is definitely a must see anime that can be confusing at the (no spoilers) end. if you want know why see it for your self. only theres one thing wrong i think that they should make a sequal to the movie. if you want to know why see it for yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is simply the best movie ever made...It has an amazing plot and enthralling characters as well as some of the best action in any anime ever. It is what truly started the whole anime craze that is sweeping the nation today. If you have seen it you would know what I'm talking about. I myself haven't seen the original release since I was about 1 year old when it came out, but if it is better than the re-dubbed re-released version it must be even more amazing, which i didn't think was possible. Go buy it...now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i'm sure you've heard of this and either have seen but don't remember much or haven't and wan to see it. this has to be the most weirdest and a confuse piece of film ever next to ghost in the shell. the animation was out of this world and the story was a bit confused but should watch more than once. this is the story of two best friends, creepy telepathic kids and a not forgotten being called Akira. one scene that creeped me out was how the toys came alive, damn i'm not looking at a teddy bear the same way again. loved loved that the voice actors who did kiba and hige from wolf's rain were in this. in my opinion this is one of the few good dubs out there from princess mononoke "billy crudup was terrific in that" and howl's moving castle "super yay that christian bale was in it":"
Guest More than 1 year ago
I never watched Akira until a few days ago and it is so great I can not stop watching it. I was a little worried about the dialogue though because most people say the new verson is not interesting. Seeing it for the first time I thought the dialogue was awesome and the graphics are well drawn for its time. The movie was slow and boring at some parts but what movie isn't? This movie also makes you think and it is kind of what you want it to be. Also the music is excellent. If you buy this also get the soundtrack.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the movie that started it all. Sure there were anime before this movie, but this movie became the true landmark. This is a true anime movie classic. It's not some cartoon. In fact, anime is not even close to being a cartoon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i like the new voices, but at the same time i grew up watching this movie and i just expect the guy who did the voice of leonardo from teenage mutant ninja turtles to be kanaeda's voice. when you've seen a movie so many time you can almost quote the whole thing all the way through and then you buy the dvd and its completely different dialogue and voices? it kinda throws you off and you are disappointed.(even though i always thought kanaeda's voice was cheesy)i don't think i was ready for it to change. i reccomend it highly anyway, especially if you've never seen it. if you're an ald school fan like me, pass and wait till you find an old vhs. now if they would re-re-release it with the old dialogue (fingers crossed)and the new with an option for whichever one you wanted to hear, that would be AWESOME! then you could compare the two and make your decision. ---- still the best though.-----
Guest More than 1 year ago
Maybe it's just nostalgia but I like the original English dub and never had a problem with it. Amazing movie, I wish there were more like this. Top notch animation, with some scenes a liquid-smooth 30 frames per second.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When i saw the original of this film for the first time on video i was in awe of not only the quality visuals, animation and plot, but also the the fact that the english dub voices were extremely good, very well acted and perfect for the film ( very rare for anime!)but when i got the dvd i found it to be destroyed by very badly acted cheap hollywood voices, totally ruining the film. shame on you Pioneer!
Guest More than 1 year ago
the akira that has been released on dvd has been redone so as to reach the new generation i suppose but in doing this it has been butcherd. the new voice actors are terrible and do not even come close to the skill and emotion of the original voice actors. also the dialog was changed so some charectors sound more ignorent which is bull none of them were so single sided. the animation was touched up by computers which goes against what akira stands for. it was made without the help of computers and looked 10 times better than animes that are made using them. my question is why did the creator allow pioneer to redo a master piece. i feel sorry for all the people that will see this new version and not even understand that it is a rip off of the original i review this extortion a zero
Laughingman More than 1 year ago
this movie was amazing and well done but if you want to get the full grasp of akira read the graphic novels there are six of them and they will bloow your mind the movie barely scratch the surface of what akira is and was
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that this movie was good but without the others that followed it, I think it would have bombed. However, I think all of them put together makes one hell of a movie.